No turning back: Sotto says opposition unity talks over after no agreement reached
MANILA, Philippines — The unity talks between the camps of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Panfilo Lacson appear to be over as both sides failed to etch an agreement, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Wednesday.
Sotto said in an interview after he and Lacson filed their certificates of candidacy for vice president and president, respectively, that people should just take the statements of Senator Franklin Drilon as it is.
According to Sotto, the suggestions brought up by Lacson during a discussion last weekend were just the same as what the latter made months ago, in a previous meeting with Robredo.
“I think you just have to take that statement of Senator Drilon, na hindi kami… walang napagkasunduan. The ideas that were brought out during those talks, were the same ideas actually that Senator Lacson proposed two or three months ago which was rejected,” he said.
“So that’s it,” he added.
Last Monday, it was revealed that a last-ditch effort to build a coalition between Robredo and Lacson’s forces bogged down again after Drilon admitted that no agreement was reached between the two sides.
It was not the first time Robredo and Lacson sat down to discuss things, as even weeks before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs), the Vice President talked to several officials about the prospect of a united opposition slate for the 2022 national elections, to prevent another government similar to President Rodrigo Duterte’s.
However, the first set of discussions with Lacson did not prosper, as Robredo did not agree to the proposal of letting all opposition candidates file their COCs and eventually withdrawing in favor of the presidential bet with the highest chance of winning.
The Senate President also maintained that the chance to be united would always be there, but the elections would be a different story especially as they have started their organizations and their movements for their campaign.
“Unity, it’s always there, we should be unified with the Filipino people, ‘di ba. Eh sa amin kasi we have already started our organizations nationwide, we already set up, we have our three political parties cooperating with each other,” Sotto explained.
“We might even have another political party joining our cooperative move for clean, honest, orderly elections. So it’s written already,” he said.
Furthermore, Sotto stressed that they do not want to be identified with any faction of the political spectrum.
“We’ve always said naman before ‘di ba, we’ll not — we don’t want to identify ourselves to any side of the fence, we’d rather be on the side of the Filipino people,” he added.
Earlier, Lacson and Sotto filed their respective COCs before the Commission on Elections (Comelec). The tandem is running under the coalition among Reporma, the National People’s Coalition, and the National Unity Party.
According to the tandem, one of their primary goals would be working to restore the Filipinos’ trust in government.
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